The 10 Street NW main street is one of Calgary’s most historic commercial streets, extending from Memorial Drive NW to Riley Park. The street is located between the northwest, inner-city communities of Hillhurst and Sunnyside, and was originally an important transportation route from Calgary to Morleyville.
In 1904, Ezra Hounsfield Riley, a prominent Calgary developer and philanthropist, subdivided the land west of the Morleyville Trail and named it Hillhurst. A few years later, he donated 20 acres of park space to The City, which is preserved today as Riley Park, and is one of the most distinctive public spaces in this main street area.
In 1906, the Sunnyside subdivision was registered by Arthur Bennett and William Ross, who then implemented a grid system aligning with the river, creating perpendicular intersections at 9A and 10A streets. Because of its proximity to the river and propensity for regular flooding, residential lots in this area were affordable for working class residents. Today the intersecting cross streets of 9A and 10A maintain a working class residential streetscape characterized by two-storey houses, shallow front yards, and treed boulevards.
The introduction of the Hillhurst-Sunnyside streetcar route in 1909, offered the best public transportation service outside of the downtown core and transformed 10 Street NW into a commercial shopping district. One and two-storey commercial buildings with recessed entry ways, large window displays, brick facades and street level storefronts that characterize the area today, are a strong reminder of the early commercial shopping district.
Chain grocery stores were introduced along 10 Street NW beginning with Jenkins Grocerteria (1919), Piggly Wiggly No. 1 (1930s) and later Safeway (1935), which has occupied its current location on 10 Street NW since the 1960s.
With the rise of the automobile, 10 Street NW became more of a commuter route spurring larger commercial and residential development in the surrounding areas throughout the 1960s-70s. In 1987, the northwest CTrain extension was built along 9A street reinforcing 10 Street NW as a major transportation route.